Change the target of target spell with a single target.
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|Tenth Edition (10E)||Rare|
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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Latest Decks as Commander
2 months ago
3 months ago
As more play-testing of the deck transpires, I gladly will share those results.
As for your inquiry about the deck's weaknesses, I can answer that from a global perspective. Over the years I have honed a certain deck-building blueprint. One of the many guidelines of this blueprint is to try and avoid any form of sorcery-speed spell that "targets." In the current deck list, only Decimate and Finale of Devastation apply. Casting Decimate is always risky, as any one of the targets can be bounced or removed prior to resolution, thereby whiffing on all targets. The potential reward of 4-for-1 for just is acceptable, however, and worth including. Finale of Devastation is not as concerning because most of the time the target is in the library. Reap the Past may provide similar apprehension if the graveyard is exiled prior to resolution. This is a reason why I chose not to include Rishkar's Expertise. I envision the creature getting removed instantly before the spell resolves, leaving only hopeful thoughts of what might have been. For me, this awareness translates to other facets of deck-building as well.
EXAMPLE: The only two auras I will ever include in an EDH/Commander deck (aside from strict aura/enchantment builds) are Rancor and Journey to Eternity Flip. If each aura sticks, perfect. The returns on these investments are amazing due to their built-in recursive benefits. If they don't stick, at least the mana invested is not a great loss. I think including spells like Deflecting Swat, Bolt Bend or even Shunt in order to protect sorcery-speed spells is advantageous, and even more so when considering the benefits you outlined above. For the purposes of including versatility to the deck, including these change-of-direction spells seem quite useful. If all options for instant-speed spells have been exhausted, I would consider adding some "sorcery protection."
EXAMPLE: When Generous Gift was released in Modern Horizons, I swapped out Vindicate for it in nearly every deck I could. Instant-speed, undoubtedly, is more powerful than sorcery-speed. This is why I opted for Return of the Wildspeaker and Momentous Fall over Rishkar's Expertise.
Well, I suppose this is my long-winded attempt to answer your Xenagos-specific question with an overgeneralized deck-building philosophy (micro into macro): I try to construct decks through a card-by-card guideline of "How much can this card hurt me? If I invest mana into this card, what are the returns? What are the risks? What is the balance?
Hopefully this response will be useful in some way. Keep on Xenagosing!
4 months ago
If you want to run Rimescale Dragon you'll need to run Snow-Covered Mountain rather than your basic Mountains. I'd say something like Embermaw Hellion instead, as it helps with your "damage addition effects".
Magebane Armor is an absolute must, as are Loxodon Warhammer and Lightning Greaves to go along with Basilisk Collar and Swiftfoot Boots -- Magebane keeps Ashling alive, while the warhammer is another source of lifelink.
The Shunt and Reverberate style effects are the best way of protecting your resources, so good job on putting them in. Same with all the draw spells, I'd think about Perpetual Timepiece and Elixir of Immortality as a means of getting things back, but it's not like this is a graveyard deck and you need to protect that space as a resource, as I say, just in case.
I'd think about something to slot in over Retreat to Valakut and Claws of Valakut -- Might just be me, but they're two of the less synergistic choices. You could use those spots for Magebane and Warhammer, for example.
Otherwise I'd say just keep tweaking it and playing around. Use the Prof's vid to work out what synergies you want to pursue aside from damage amplification which is a good start.
8 months ago
Your very top tier auto-include for lists is going to look like
- Force of Will "free"
- Pact of Negation "free"
- Swan Song cheap to cast and wide in restrictions
- Mana Drain color heavy but ramps the following turn
- Mental Misstep "free"
- Delay not color heavy and hits any spell, delaying for 3 turns is the same as solving it in very fast competitive EDH
Your situational includes are going to look like
- Force of Negation This can't protect your own combos, so it isn't wanted in every list. This is ran in QUITE A FEW lists though, always worth a consider.
- Counterspell Usually seen in mono or dual color decks as the cost can be hard in some 4 or 5 color shells
- Dispel Sometimes cut for a more general counter
- Muddle the Mixture Limited in scope and color heavy but this is more often slotted as a hard-to-counter tutor with a counterspell as icing on the top
- Narset's Reversal this card is pretty nice. While it does see a lot of play, it definitely isn't an autoinclude yet by any means.
- Spell Pierce Before you mock this card, consider how well it catches ultra fast mana rocks and tutors. Noncreature is very wide, and it stops Sol Ring Mana Crypt Mox Diamond Mox Opal Chrome Mox Mox Amber Mana Vault Vampiric Tutor Imperial Seal Mystical Tutor Worldly Tutor Gamble Dark Ritual and SO MUCH MORE. Even for a tempo card, you're still going to catch weird stuff like someone's Rhystic Study because they tapped out to pay for it. Its very strong against blistering fast combo decks, which is why it sees competitive play.
Other blue stuff is usually just too expensive. Paying over 2 mana for a counterspell just doesn't cut it when there are so many threats for so cheap. Don't pay more than 2 for a counterspell unless it does something wild on top. Counterspells with fewer restrictions on what it can counter are going to be better.
This is where it gets saucy boys
- Red Elemental Blast Pyroblast are VERY good. In a pod, there is almost definitely blue at the table. Every single red deck can slot these for commander without fear. Do note that REB works against any spell that includes blue (multicolor), while pyro only works against spells that are ONLY blue (monocolor).
- Fork Reverberate (Twincast) these allow you to copy a counterspell to create a counterspell. More access for red to counterspells. They also conveniently work very well against tutors, ramp, big draw spells, and extra turn spells.
- Guttural Response Weird hybrid color and somewhat restricted but still a good include in most RG decks.
- Burnout a bit worse then the elemental blasts as it costs 2 mana and it is limited. The cantrip is nice though
- Mana Tithe not that good in EDH but give it a whirl I guess
- Lapse of Certainty costing 3 hurts, but this is more a tempo card than anything.
- Dash Hopes Don't play this card in EDH lol
- Withering Boon on the chunkier end at 2 CMC, but in a color that doesn't get much of this. The 3 life and the restriction hurt, but definitely EDH playable. Every deck runs a commander, 99% of which are creatures
- Imp's Mischief can counter a spell by having it target Mischief, as can Misdirection Shunt Swerve and Ricochet Trap.
- Veil of Summer 1 mana green Cryptic Command
- Autumn's Veil Counterspell + silence against UB
- Bind I bet you didn't even know this card existed. Cantrips. GOOD IN THE YISAN MIRROR MATCH?
- Avoid Fate Weird protection oriented counterspell
- Nether Void Mostly ran in stax builds, brutal lockout card
- Planar Chaos One of my new favorite cards. Brutal with recursion like Hall of Heliod's Generosity. Play when you're ahead
- Deathgrip Lifeforce These are based if you have any method of color shifting. Realistically, you could run Lifeforce in Momir Hackball. These cards can cause scoops on casual tables lol.
- Vexing Shusher can render counterspells useless. Similarly, Dosan the Falling Leaf Grand Abolisher Prowling Serpopard Gaea's Herald can all protect against counterspells. Far more marginal but still worthwhile are Hall of Gemstone and Ritual of Subdual for turning off counterspells for opponents.
8 months ago
I think counter magic is perfectly fine as a concept. It's a way to deal with issues, before they actually become an issue and it examplifies one of blue's main weaknesses: Difficulty in dealing with the board. I used to hate counterspells when I got into Magic again (during Lorwyn, damn Faeries), as they simply seem like a disability to play the game; "I want to play something." - "You may not". I have since accepted their place in the game and their importance.
The reason I still do dislike counter magic is because it exists to provide a strength to cover a weakness. A weakness that since then has been partially filled out by strong answers to the board over the course of Magic's history. One of the main offenders is Cyclonic Rift , especially present in Commander and other multiplayer formats that are significantly slower than Duel Magic (1 on 1). Other offenders are cards that really should be enchantments, but opted for a more nefarious although simpler route: Curse of the Swine and Reality Shift , and their predecessors; Pongify and Rapid Hybridization .
As said by Berry in the article; Blue has the ability to change something from one thing to another. We have also seen various types of such polymorphing done in enchantment form; Darksteel Mutation , Lignify , Frogify . All of this makes perfect sense in what blue is capable of doing.
However doing a change irreversibly like the Curse of the Swine or Reality Shift, is giving hard answers to a color whose weakness is hard answers - at least on the board. Yeah, you replace them with a creature, but a much weaker creature and if a token, one you can permanently remove by having it change zone.
Another issue with counter magic is the tempo shift. The opponent casts a 5 mana spell, you cast a 2-3 mana counter spell. Suddenly there's a disparity of 2-3 mana in the counterspeller's favor. It is mainly equalized because the blue player must have ready mana, resulting in that player not developing their own board state. However that can again be offset by utilizing instant speed spells or abilities that either advance board state or card draw for the blue player.
If the blue player didn't have these chances to apply disparity in mana spent and benefit, the color would struggle to have meaningful strengths, I know that. However the issue is in finding the fine line between how much mana disparity is acceptable. The cat is out of the bag on this one, as there have already been printed numerous versions of unconditional counterspells that have set a precedent for what blue counterspells are allowed to do and how cheaply.
If you compare a counterspell to a destroy spell, the main difference is obviously zone of application and also timing of application. One proactive, one reactive (well actually both are reactive, but you probably know why I have to make a distinction). Reactive spells provide a lot more flexibility in when you're required to use them. Their main problem is that sometimes reactive spells are too late to cause the same mana disparity that a counterspell does. As soon as that permanent hits the battlefield, an ability may come into effect, be it triggered, static or active. A reactive spell cannot avoid that.
Also take into account that blue can deal with any spell in existence, with the possible exception of spells with Split Second, specifically designed to be uninteractive - and still they can be interacted with . If there's a spell that is uncounterable, you can get creative with Venser, Shaper Savant , Time Stop , Mindbreak Trap , Ashiok's Erasure , there's load of ways to get around "uncounterable". Blue is also the color that will straight up see a threat on the board and simply take it for themselves, with Control Magic , Gather Specimens , Blatant Thievery , Expropriate . Effectively a removal, card draw and threat all in one.
No other color can boast the same catch all mechanic. White comes close for something in the same ballpark, but it is still just a bleak imitation - as countermagic goes. And evidently look at that price tag.
In the earlier days of Magic, blue was not the only user of countermagic. I feel like you could provide other colors with more conditional types of countermagic, to better even it out. And not just anti countermagic like Guttural Response . Blue would still be the best, but not the sole user. - White is a color that protects itself, so something like Hindering Light is the most likely avenue to take White Countermagic, anything that touches my stuff - go away. Think Equinox in terms of templating but not necessarily that specific. Giving their spells on the stack protection from a color or supertype or plain "old" Hexproof. - Green already has an affinity to provide hexproof to their stuff, Heroic Intervention and Veil of Summer , so expanding on that seems reasonable. - Red could go the Fork / Shunt route but is unlikely to get countermagic that straight up nullifies other types of spells than spells with targets. - Black is kinda difficult. The usual is just to tack an alternative payment of life, cards or permanents on an otherwise Blue card. Black already have an indirect proactive answer through selective discard, like Duress . The issue is these are all sorcery speed, so if an opponent suddenly starts drawing a lot of cards, it can be difficult for black to be proactive in time. So perhaps just providing Duress at instant speed through a condition would be acceptable. Something like "Instant Duress may be cast as an instant if an opponent has drawn two or more cards this turn." / "Instant Duress may be cast as an instant if the target opponent has 5 or more cards in hand". Any kind of variation on that.
Of course some would talk about color pie bleeding/breaking, but ain't that already happening by giving blue hard removal (by proxy) and large scale soft board removal? I know some of these issues are mainly aimed at multiplayer formats, but we cannot ignore that Magic has grown to be something else than only Duel Magic (1 on 1). Blue's counter magic is here to stay, but is it too much to ask that the other colors can get even slightly in on the action if not directly, then indirectly by interacting more with the stack?
Green has one of the best palettes available to them for a slightly slower format; mana ramp, card draw, large threats, ability to scale well, protective measures, explosive finishers and a hell lot of combo potential and pieces.
I think Green is only beaten slightly by Black in terms of Commander due to tutors in a singleton format. And because Black can cheat mana costs or pays differently, has access to card draw and good finishers, along many more combo pieces.
Blue is one of the only colors that reliably can stop combo or finishers dead in their tracks. Reversibly, they are the color best suited to keep those combos or finishers uninterrupted. They have the best access to card advantage and resource manipulation. And extra turns.
There's a reason that many cEDH decks are mainly some variation of Sultai colors (Green, black and blue) with maybe one added color or full WUBRG. I think this picture would be more diverse, if more colors became able to interact better. The ability to interact is one of the core foundations and strengths of Magic. Counter magic is a pillar of this interaction, more colors should find a way to do it or something similar.
8 months ago
Sooooo much burn. Spear Spewer and Lobber Crew turn into cheap put effective lightning bolts on a stick to everyone every turn with your commander out. Keep them around for blocking and tap before death or the beginning of your turn. Shunt can help divert target removal from you. You probably need better card draw. Otherwise you may be dead in the water without a hand. Reforge the Soul Wheel of Fate could help reload.
9 months ago
cyber_shorty +1 for the name alone, LOL.
Arch of Orazca - Re-useable late game card draw
Commune with Lava - See above
Endless Atlas - Repeatable card draw, comes down early.
Hedron Archive - Ramp and card draw in one
Humble Defector - Card draw and politics
Ignite the Future - Card draw that can be re-used
Light Up the Stage - Similar to above
Mind's Eye - Repeatable card draw
Solemn Simulacrum - Ramp and card draw in one
Tome of Legends - Repeatable card draw
Magus of the Wheel - Wheel
Outpost Siege - Draw
Stranglehold - Stops tutors, fetches, land fetching, etc... very powerful
Crystal Chimes - With so many enchantments, this can't hurt.
Sunbird's Invocation - If they let this resolve and stick, its hard not to win if you build your deck correctly
Chandra, Torch of Defiance - Removal, card draw, ramp and wincon all in 1
Better equipment honestly. Like sword of feast and famine, fire and ice, etc...
I know the deck is low to the ground but understand that card draw is what you desperately need in red. Because as of now, you lack any real means of car draw. I understand the aggro part of Mono red, but this deck isn't nearly fast enough for you to get a quick win and therefore need to consider other options that help maintain gas into the mid-late game. For a voltron deck, you need to protect your commander. Equipments and auras can help, but they can (and wise opponents will always) hold up removal in response to auras or equipment. Price of Glory will make them think twice. Other potential options can be Bolt Bend and Shunt . They redirect removal and counter counterspells. Very important for a voltron deck.